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Film News Roundup: Biblical Movie ‘Elijah’ in the Works With Winter State

In today’s news roundup, the Bible’s Elijah is getting a movie; Will Patton, Mark O’Brien and Michael Masini get acting roles; and “Roma” will open the Savannah Film Festival.

PROJECT UNVEILED

Winter State Entertainment is launching “Elijah” as a supernatural feature film interpretation based on the Biblical prophet of the same name who confronted rulers about idol worship, Variety has learned exclusively.

Producers Hamid and Camille Torabpour said “Elijah” will have elements of “The Lord of the Rings,” “Percy Jackson” and “The Passion of the Christ” with a diverse cast and crew of women and men both behind and in front of the camera. Jhene Chase, a Saudi-American female filmmaker whose credits include “Summertime Dropouts,” will be directing from a screenplay by Hamid Torabpour and Andrew Kightlinger.

“We’re looking to immerse ourselves in a story where the impossible comes to life, and the challenges of faith portray themselves in remarkable ways to catapult us on an incredible journey and a stunning experience for the audience,” she said.

“Elijah” is fully financed by Hollywood Media Bridge. Minnesota-based Winter State teamed with Chase on “Summertime Dropouts.”

CASTINGS

Will Patton and Mark O’Brien are starring in the independent thriller-drama “Hammer,” with cameras rolling this month in Northern Ontario and Newfoundland, Variety has learned exclusively.

Christian Sparkes will direct the film from his own script. Supporting cast includes Ben Cotton, Vickie Papavs, Connor Price, and Dayle McLeod.

Patton and O’Brien are playing a father and son with Patton’s character still picking up the pieces of his family after kicking his oldest son (O’Brien) out of the house. The son shows up on the run from a botched drug deal, forcing his father to help him escape from the vengeful dealer he crossed.

Producers of the film are Allison White of Sara Fost Pictures, Chris Agoston of The Screen Asylum, Jonathan Bronfman of JoBro Productions and William Woods of Woods Entertainment.

O’Brien is repped by Buchwald, The Characters, and Thruline Entertainment annd Lichter Grossman Nicols Adler and Feldman.  Patton is repped by APA and Grand View Management.

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Michael Masini has been cast in the upcoming feature Fred Rogers film, “You Are My Friend”, alongside Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper, Variety has learned exclusively.

The TriStar film is being directed by Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”). The movie is an exploration of the friendship that Rogers developed with journalist Tom Junod, played by Rhys.

Masini’s credits include “Blue Bloods,” “NCIS” and “Modern Family. He is repped by Robyn Holt, Sol, and Headline/Ellis Talent Group, alongside ZTPR.
FILM FESTIVAL

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Savannah Film Festival will open Oct. 27 with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” with actresses Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira along with producer Gabriela Rodriguez in attendance.

The festival’s Centerpiece Gala will be “If Beale Street Could Talk,” written and directed by Barry Jenkins and starring festival honorees Stephan James and KiKi Layne. All three will be in attendance.

The festival will close on Nov. 3 with “Green Book,” directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Viggo Mortensen and 2016 festival honoree Mahershala Ali.

Among the other films screening are “The Front Runner,” “Widows,” “The Favourite” and “Vox Lux.”

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